SilverStone HE02 CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on October 15, 2012
The HE02 is a CPU cooler from SilverStone that has a tower heatsink, six heatpipes, and can be used in passive mode, i.e., without any fan. Let’s test it and see if it really works well without a fan.
According to the manufacturer, the HE02 can dissipate up to 95 W with no fan at all, 130 W with a case fan near the cooler, and more than 150 W with a 120 mm fan attached to the heatsink.
The HE02 comes in a brown cardboard box, as seen in Figure 1.
Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: heatsink, a small tube of thermal compound, manual, fan holders, and installation hardware. The HE02 comes with no fan.
Figure 3 displays the SilverStone HE02.
This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.
Figure 4 illustrates the front of the heatsink. The heatsink is asymmetrical, being shifted to the right in order to not interfere with a tall chipset heatsink.
Figures 5 and 6 reveal the sides of the cooler. Again, the heatsink is shifted to the rear, avoiding the space over memory modules.
In Figure 7, you can see the top of the cooler. The fins (and thus the entire heatsink) have a unique shape in order to fit 120 mm coolers on both the front and rear sides, as well as allowing access to the mounting screws.
Figure 8 illustrates the crossed nickel-plated heatpipes that connect the base of the cooler to the heatsink. This design is interesting because it spreads the heat from the center of the CPU to both sides of the heatsink.
Figure 9 shows the base of the cooler, which is not exactly mirrored.
The first step of the installation of the HE02 is to prepare the backplate. You must install the four screws in the holes that match your CPU socket. Figure 10 shows the backplate with the screws installed in the socket LGA1155 position.
Locate the backplate in the solder side of the motherboard, install four plastic spacers, and then the metal bars shown in Figure 11, securing them with four thumbnuts.
Put the cooler in, holding it with a transversal bar. Initially, we tested the cooler as it appears in Figure 12, with no fan attached to the heatsink, but with the fan at the rear of the case. However, this setup proved to be insufficient to cool our system, since the CPU reached temperatures near 100° C and throttled down when under full load.
Then we installed a SilverStone FM123 fan (120 mm, set to 2,000 rpm) on the cooler in order to run our benchmarking.
We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.
We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)
We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.
Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.
During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.
The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.
Operating System Configuration
We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.
The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Speed||Core Temp.||Temp. Diff.|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3||18 °C||50 dBA||2850 rpm||69 °C||51 °C|
|Corsair A70||23 °C||51 dBA||2000 rpm||66 °C||43 °C|
|Corsair H100||26 °C||62 dBA||2000 rpm||64 °C||38 °C|
|EVGA Superclock||26 °C||57 dBA||2550 rpm||67 °C||41 °C|
|NZXT HAVIK 140||20 °C||46 dBA||1250 rpm||65 °C||45 °C|
|Thermalright True Spirit 120||26 °C||42 dBA||1500 rpm||82 °C||56 °C|
|Zalman CNPS12X||26 °C||43 dBA||1200 rpm||71 °C||45 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9900 Max||20 °C||51 dBA||1700 rpm||62 °C||42 °C|
|Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition||22 °C||50 dBA||2400 rpm||65 °C||43 °C|
|SilenX EFZ-120HA5||18 °C||44 dBA||1500 rpm||70 °C||52 °C|
|Noctua NH-L12||20 °C||44 dBA||1450 rpm||70 °C||50 °C|
|Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme||21 °C||53 dBA||2550 rpm||71 °C||50 °C|
|Gamer Storm Assassin||15 °C||48 dBA||1450 rpm||58 °C||43 °C|
|Deepcool Gammaxx 400||15 °C||44 dBA||1500 rpm||60 °C||45 °C|
|Cooler Master TPC 812||23 °C||51 dBA||2350 rpm||66 °C||43 °C|
|Deepcool Gammaxx 300||18 °C||43 dBA||1650 rpm||74 °C||56 °C|
|Intel stock cooler||18 °C||41 dBA||2000 rpm||97 °C||79 °C|
|Xigmatek Praeton||19 °C||52 dBA||2900 rpm||83 °C||64 °C|
|Noctua NH-U12P SE2||18 °C||42 dBA||1300 rpm||69 °C||51 °C|
|Deepcool Frostwin||24 °C||46 dBA||1650 rpm||78 °C||54 °C|
|Thermaltake Frio Advanced||13 °C||56 dBA||2000 rpm||62 °C||49 °C|
|Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition||9 °C||48 dBA||2100 rpm||53 °C||44 °C|
|Thermaltake Frio Extreme||21 °C||53 dBA||1750 rpm||59 °C||38 °C|
|Noctua NH-U9B SE2||12 °C||44 dBA||1700 rpm||64 °C||52 °C|
|Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro||15 °C||54 dBA||2000 rpm||52 °C||37 °C|
|Deepcool Fiend Shark||18 °C||45 dBA||1500 rpm||74 °C||56 °C|
|Arctic Freezer i30||13 °C||42 dBA||1350 rpm||63 °C||50 °C|
|Spire TME III||8 °C||46 dBA||1700 rpm||70 °C||62 °C|
|Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer||11 °C||54 dBA||2000 rpm||49 °C||38 °C|
|Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS||11 °C||45 dBA||2000 rpm||82 °C||71 °C|
|be quiet! Dark Rock 2||10 °C||41 dBA||1300 rpm||58 °C||48 °C|
|Phanteks PH-TC14CS||16 °C||47 dBA||1300 rpm||58 °C||42 °C|
|Phanteks PH-TC14PE||16 °C||48 dBA||1300 rpm||57 °C||41 °C|
|SilverStone HE01 (Q)||19 °C||44 dBA||1150 rpm||63 °C||44 °C|
|SilverStone HE01 (P)||20 °C||57 dBA||2050 rpm||62 °C||42 °C|
|Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (S)||17 °C||44 dBA||1250 rpm||52 °C||35 °C|
|Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (E)||17 °C||53 dBA||1900 rpm||50 °C||33 °C|
|Deepcool Neptwin||11 °C||46 dBA||1500 rpm||56 °C||45 °C|
|SilverStone HE02||19 °C||49 dBA||2000 rpm||64 °C||45 °C|
In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.
In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.
The main specifications for the SilverStone HE02 CPU cooler include:
The SilverStone HE02 is a huge, very well-made CPU cooler, with a clever design that shifts the center of the heatsink from the base, offering better compatibility with motherboards and memory modules with tall heatsinks.
However, we were disappointed with its performance. This disappointment comes mainly from the promise that the HE02 could passively cool a CPU of up to 130 W. Our CPU has a TDP of 95 W at the stock clock, but it is overclocked, and we cannot determine how many watts it is actually dissipating. With no fan attached to the heatsink, but with a 120 mm fan installed on the rear panel of our case, the SilverStone H02 was no able to cool our CPU, as it reached temperatures near 100° C and throttled down when under full load. Therefore, we can say that the HE02 must not be used to passively cool an overclocked CPU. Installing a 120 mm fan to the heatsink, it reaches a good cooling performance, but we were expecting more from such a huge cooler.
The SilverStone HE02 CPU cooler is an impressive cooler, but it didn’t deliver as much cooling performance as promised. It receives our Bronze Award.